In the Region Flight attendants ratify give-back at US...

BUSINESS DIGEST

August 10, 2002

In the Region

Flight attendants ratify give-back at US Airways

US Airways flight attendants ratified a contract with the ailing airline yesterday, giving up $75.8 million in annual wage and benefits concessions in exchange for job guarantees.

The Association of Flight Attendants AFL-CIO said 80 percent of eligible flight attendants voted and 73 percent voted in favor of the new contract. In exchange for the concessions, the flight attendants have guarantees that they will be protected should the airline file for bankruptcy. The deal also gives them incentives if the airline becomes profitable again.

US Airways has received conditional approval of a $900 million federal loan guarantee and is seeking an equal sum in concessions from its 35,000 employees. The restructuring plan is intended to keep the airline out of bankruptcy court.

Novavax Inc. adopts anti-takeover plan

Novavax Inc. said yesterday that it had adopted a "poison pill" plan designed to protect the company from hostile takeovers.

The Columbia developer of an estrogen-replacement cream and other products said the plan wasn't adopted in response to any specific takeover threat. Novavax's shares have been depressed, trading as low as $1.86 per share, since the company's April announcement that the Food and Drug Administration wouldn't approve its Estrasorb estrogen cream without additional information.

The shareholder rights plan would be triggered only if another person or group acquired - or announced its intention to acquire - at least 15 percent of Novavax's outstanding shares. Shareholders who held Novavax stock as of Aug. 16 would then be allowed to buy additional shares at a 50 percent discount.

Coffman moving up at advisory panel

President Bush plans to designate Lockheed Martin Corp. Chief Executive Officer Vance D. Coffman as chairman of the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, the White House announced yesterday.

The committee, consisting of 30 or more executives from major communications, aerospace and technology companies, advises the president on issues related to emergency communications during war, natural disasters, acts of terrorism or other crises.

Coffman is vice chairman of the committee, which meets approximately every nine months.

Elsewhere

$141 million OK'd to settle Sunbeam class action suit

A federal judge approved yesterday a $141 million settlement of a class action fraud suit against Sunbeam Corp., the bankrupt appliance maker, filed by investors who lost money on Sunbeam stock.

The suit accused Sunbeam and its officers of inflating stock prices and misleading investors about the company's sales and earnings in the 18 months leading to the June 1998 ouster of chief executive Al Dunlap.

A federal signed the settlement agreement, which will provide about $106 million for investors. Attorneys estimated that investors will be compensated for 12 percent to 15 percent of their losses.

Firestone's parent returns to profitability

Japanese tiremaker Bridgestone Corp. said yesterday that it returned to profitability in the first half of the year, as sales in the United States recovered from the aftermath of a huge tire recall at its Bridgestone/Firestone subsidiary.

In the six months that ended June 30, Bridgestone earned 24 billion yen ($199 million) on sales of 1.09 trillion yen ($9 billion). It lost 30.5 billion yen on sales of 1.03 trillion yen for the same period a year ago.

Bridgestone, which has settled hundreds of lawsuits over the recalled tires, said it expects to triple profits this year.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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